Rock pioneer Chuck Berry turned 90 on Tuesday with the surprise announcement that he plans to release his first album in decades.
Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s. (AFP/Pablo Porciuncula)
NEW YORK: Rock pioneer Chuck Berry turned 90 on Tuesday (Oct 18) with the surprise announcement that he plans to release his first album in decades.
Berry said he recorded the album – entitled simply “Chuck” – at studios around his native St. Louis and will release it sometime next year.
Considered one of the creators of rock ‘n’ roll, Berry helped define 1950s youth culture and shape the future of music by bringing together rhythm and blues, country guitar and consummate stage showmanship.
His 1958 song “Johnny B. Goode” is one of the most recognisable in popular music and was selected to represent rock music for potential extraterrestrial listeners on the Voyager spacecraft.
“Chuck” will be the first album in 38 years by Berry, who has gradually cut back on live performances as his age advances.
Chuck Berry dedicated the album to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry. “My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!” he said in a statement.
Berry recorded the album with his backup band – which includes his son Charles Berry Jr. on guitar – from his two decades of shows at the Blueberry Club in St. Louis.
The band “fell right into the groove and followed his lead,” the younger Berry said. “These songs cover the spectrum from hard-driving rockers to soulful thought-provoking time capsules of a life’s work,” he said.
Chuck Berry, who was in the first round of inductees when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened in 1986, will hold events to promote the album that will be announced later, his label said.